Legoland Florida Hotel
** Originally Written In 2016 for my old blog site.
Caitlen and I checked in with the kids last night (Wednesday, Jan. 13) to the Legoland Hotel in Winter Haven, FL and it is AWESOME!!!!!!! Yes, I believe seven exclamation points are necessary. If you don't already know about the epic-ness that is this hotel, I feel I must enlighten you. Before I begin, though, you should be aware that I am not a Lego fan-boy; I do not consider myself a master-builder; and while I know what the "Kragle" is, I've not spent very much time with this "highly sophisticated interlocking brick system."
Your initial impression of this hotel might be a little underwhelming. I know it was for me. Coming from Orlando / Kissimmee and it's associated mega-hotels, the Legoland Hotel seems rather boutique. Disney's Art of Animation Resort has 1,120 suites. I'd guesstimate the Legoland Hotel has only as many rooms as one of Art of Animation's ten (yes, 10!) buildings. I quickly discovered, however, that doubting a hotel due to its diminutive size is both amateurish and stupid. This place has awesomness per square foot ratio that ought to be illegal.
We've grown rather accustomed to themed hotels when visiting theme parks with our kids and Disney is, of course, the standard by which all others are judged. Our personal favorite is the aforementioned Art of Animation Resort because its rooms are large, subdivided, and buildings 1-3 are themed in the style of Disney's Cars which is a personal favorite of mine and the only movie my son has watched from start to finish. Each family suite at the Art of Animation features two full bathrooms, a king bed in a separate bedroom, a pullout couch, a murphy bed, a wet-bar with microwave and fridge, and more Cars-chic styling than you can shake a tailpipe at. In my mind, the rooms are, for lack of a better word: perfect! And that is what we were coming from when we arrived last night. I arrived expecting to be disappointed because, honestly, how could anything compare to what I'd just enjoyed for three glorious nights at Disney?
When we arrived at the Legoland Hotel, the self-parking area was being repaved, so we enjoyed complementary valet. The lobby is smallish, but overflowing with fun. There's a small pit filled with legos and a large shelf on which to display your greatest creations. behind the check-in desk is a mural of mini-figures. Farther back is a play space dominated by a castle and pirate ship and more pits filled with legos. On the your left is the Brick's restaurant serving complementary breakfast each morning. The Lego Movie sound track dominates the aural landscape and never gets old. Outside is a large pool, which we weren't able to enjoy on this visit due to cold weather.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I can't not mention that the elevators at the Legoland Hotel are the coolest elevators in which I've ever ridden. The floors are covered in blue gel which moves like water beneath your feet and when the doors close, the boring elevator music (see: Kenny G) switches instantaneously to disco music replete with twin disco balls! It's a jam! Then, every time the doors open, the elevator music resumes and everyone stands in stoic, stationary stances until the doors close once more.
You get to choose from four different themes for your room: Adventure, Pirates, Kingdom, and Lego Friends. We chose a Pirates room because we were also having a Pirates/Peter Pan themed birthday party for our kiddies on a real Pirate ship out of Clearwater. When we stepped off the elevator, we were immediately greeted by a Captain Brickbeard who invited us to help him take back his ship. The decor is enthralling. The wallpaper and carpet are custom, lego-styled creations unique to each theme. In the room, we found more truly epic decorations: a treasure chest with a puzzle you had to complete before opening, built-in tick-tack-toe, a bunk-bed with hidden trundle. There was a ton of built-in storage which was great because we had a huge haul of luggage to store.
My only gripe about the room was the lack of separation between the bunk-bed area and the rest of the living space. Even something as simple as a curtain, like what you find in an RV, would have helped us not worry about disturbing the children when attempting to watch the TV or work on our computer. Other than that, the room was almost perfect, but that detail makes a world of difference. At the Art of Animation rooms, if the kiddies are sleeping in the bedroom and we sleep on the murphy bed, we can do whatever we want without waking them. That difference between the two rooms is huge and if the Legoland Hotel added some kind of partition I might be bold enough to say that I prefer its rooms to Disney's.